Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor said law and order should be maintained in the country as protests against Aasia Bibi’s acquittal enters the third day.
On October 31, the Supreme Court acquitted Bibi – a Christian woman accused of blasphemy in 2010 and sentenced to death – and set aside an earlier judgment passed by a lower court.
Speaking to Pakistan Television (PTV), DG ISPR said the acquittal was a legal matter and dragging the military into the matter was “disappointing”. He urged protesters to refrain from making statements against the country’s legal structure, the armed forces and the Constitution.
The military spokesperson added that the case had been in the court for the previous 10 years. “Let the legal course complete.”
“Islam promotes peace and harmony,” he said. “The army is engaged in eliminating terrorism from the country. It should not be distracted from its goal.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor elaborated that the army wanted to peacefully control the prevailing situation in the country. However, he added, the Pakistan Army would play its constitutional role if requested by the government.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry dismissed social media reports of an operation against the protesters. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader said the government is the guarantor of public’s lives and freedom.
He reaffirmed that the government did not intend to use force. “The negotiations with protesters are ongoing,” he asserted.
Fawad added that Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri was set for another round of talks with protesters later today.